Posted by Billy Knieriem on Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Our first lesson series this Fall, "To Save A Life," is based off of the 2010 movie by the same name. This movie, written by a veteran Youth Minister, attempts to address just about every topic that teens are faced with at school and in their personal life. The catalyst of the movie is the suicide of a young man who felt like he didn't matter to anyone. This sets off a series of events and decisions in the life of the main character and those he interacts with. In addition to suicide, some of the other issues the movie addresses are: bullying, cutting, divorce, sex, pregnancy, drugs, alcohol, faith, fake friends, decisions about college and the future, etc.
The series we are going through in follow up to this movie will attempt to address and unpack the issues the movie brings up. Over the course of the next month or so, our students will be challenged to open up and address these things instead of trying to hide from or avoid them. It is our hope that students will feel comfortable to be real and discuss what is going on in their lives.
Our first week dealt with coming to the understanding that how we see and treat people has a huge effect on them (and on us). Using the ancient Greek concept of Hellenization, we talked about how we try to make everyone like us (look like us, act like us, talk like us, and do what we want to do) in order to be accepted. We contrasted that with how Jesus approached the people around Him. Rather than wait until they were like Him, Jesus went to the lonely, the outcast, the weak, the annoying and the disliked. He reached out to them instead of pushing them away.
The three main points we want our students to walk away from this lesson with are:
1- What is the point of all of this (church/youth group/faith), if you aren't going to let it change you?
2- You are never more like Jesus than when you reach out to the lonely and the hurting.
3- We get to work with Jesus to rewrite people's stories.
As believers, we are called to be different. We are called to reach out to the lost, the hurting, the lonely, the outcasts- and to show them the love of Christ! We get to be a part of the work of God's Kingdom by being His hands and feet in a hurting world. But, it is our choice whether that's the kind of life we want to live, or whether we are satisfied with just being like everyone else- chasing after the latest trend and popularity in order to hold on to the status quo! There is no point in claiming you know Jesus if that knowledge, that relationship, hasn't radically altered your life and changed you!
We ended the lesson with a simple challenge-- This week, say hello to 10 people that you would normally just walk right past. If they respond, engage in the conversation. We are stoked to hear the stories about how this challenge went!
Here are a few questions to ask your son/daughter this week as they process through this idea:
1- What did you think of the movie?
2- I know there were a lot of things the movie dealt with, would you be willing to talk about some of those with me?
3- How are you doing? (I know this seems like a trivial question we ask all the time and never really answer, but press for a real answer)
4- How are these things (issues raised by the movie or when they answer) affecting you? Your friends?
5- How can I help?